Are You Prepared to Become a Caregiver?

A “caregiver” is a family member, friend, or neighbor who provides unpaid physical and emotional care for someone with a chronic or disabling condition. A caregiver helps with activities of daily living such as grocery
shopping, bathing, dressing, and medical tasks. These caregivers are predominantly women. Of the more than 40 million Americans serving as caregivers to their loved ones — a figure expected to grow as more boomers, and their parents, get older — 60 percent are women. And for them, the decision to do what feels like the right thing can have major repercussions down the road.


As the population ages and people live longer, the need for
Caregiving will increase. Additionally, caregiving
responsibilities are intensifying; family caregivers
are increasingly performing complex medical/nursing
tasks traditionally provided by health professionals
in a hospital setting (for example, administering
injections and providing wound care).

From finance to health, Here are some important facts about women and caregiving all women need to know:

  1. The average caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for an elderly mother while working at least part-time. They tend to be the primary caregiver more often than men and, in many cases, spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers do.
  2. Many are juggling caring for a family member along with full-time employment: 20% of women in the workforce are family caregivers.
  3. This sacrifice ends up contributing to the long-term care needs of the female caregivers: One in four will develop health problems of her own.

Longevity

  1. Women tend to live longer than men: They outlive men by about five years, on average.
  2. Women at age 65 have a life expectancy of 23 more years. That means they can expect to live to age 88.
  3. Although that extra longevity can be considered a bonus, it creates a greater risk for needing care.
  4. Women spend an average of twice as many years in a disabled state than men do.
  5. Have you been to a nursing home lately? More than 70% of the residents are women.
  6. What about assisted living? Over three-fourths of assisted living residents are women.
  7. Most adults ages 65 and over who need long-term care are living in private homes. Without a spouse around to help, this puts an additional burden on women. Many turn to their adult children, and it’s usually daughters who help.
  8. Paying for care is expensive: Average annual home health care costs can run anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000, depending on where you live.
  9. Women should educate themselves on Long Term Care options. Learn ways you can protect yourself and your partner/spouse through Long Term Care Planning. It can save all the hard-earned assets you have built up over the years and help you provide the proper home care.

I can tell you from personal experience that the more you educate yourself before emergencies or decline in family members health, the better off everyone will be. There are many workshops and groups out there offering information on what to do when your family members are aging. You can also call your attorney and ask for a recommendation for an elder law specialist if you have one to ask for advice, as well as your friends who may have gone through it.

Sometimes, it just takes one small piece of info to change your life. There are workshops you can look up at your local assisted living facilities all the time, which are free. Please don’t wait until you are forced into the situation to start learning as I did. Education and planning will alleviate so much stress the time you spend on it will be well worth it.

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